The Jacksonville Sharks beat the Massachusetts Pirates 54-47 in overtime to score their 12th straight win on Saturday night.
The Sharks were able to pull out a victory despite a strong game from the Pirates’ defense – and an equally atrocious performance from starting QB Jonathan Bane.
Bane struggled mightily throughout the game, completing just 45% of his passes, being sacked three times, and throwing a season-high five interceptions.
As a result, the offense was just barely able to keep pace with the Pirates’ scoring – though they were aided by yet another strong performance from the defense. Markus Smith, Cody Saul, and Robert Brown all came away with interceptions on Saturday night, with Smith and Saul each scoring a touchdown on their respective INTs. The Sharks also managed to sack Pirates QB Sean Brackett five times, with Nick Woodman recording two sacks and Jonathan Taylor managing 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
The defensive effort was enough to keep the Sharks in the game, but the team trailed throughout the first quarter and led by just three points at the half. By the fourth quarter, they found themselves down 47-40 after the Pirates capitalized on Bane’s fifth turnover.
On the ensuing Sharks drive, Mike Fafaul took over at QB with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Fafaul provided an instant spark, completing three straight passes including an end-zone shot to Jarmon Fortson to tie the game.
After a missed 43-yard field goal attempt from Pirates kicker Mike Weaver as time expired, the Sharks found themselves in their first overtime game of the year.
The team wasted no time in OT, as Fafaul remained red hot and found Devin Wilson for a 14-yard touchdown pass. On the Pirates’ ensuing possession, Robert Brown picked off Brackett to end the game.
Fafaul finished 5-for-5 for 48 yards and 2 TDs on just two drives. Fafaul has been consistently strong this season when filling in for Bane, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency. With the playoffs fast approaching, the Sharks may now be faced with a tough decision as far as who to stick with under center the rest of the way.
Devin Wilson led all receivers with eight catches for 94 yards and 2 TDs. Fortson and Kamrin Solomon also each added a touchdown. Alstevis Squirewell scored the team’s sole rushing TD.
The Sharks will take on the Orlando Predators next weekend at home to finish out the regular season before embarking on another playoff run.